Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 12, 2007

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Dylan, Costello 'occasionally transcendent'
at Petersen Events Center

Regis Behe

After Elvis Costello ripped through a brilliant acoustic set last night at the Petersen Events Center — including intense, moving versions of "Crimes of Paris," "Radio Sweetheart," "Alison" and "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding," it would have been understandable if the rest of the evening was anti-climactic. Costello at his best is peerless, and given the headliner's reputation for uneven performances, there could have been a severe drop-off in terms of quality.

But a lesson was learned: Never, ever count out Bob Dylan, who played the second half of last night's double bill.

Occasionally transcendent, Dylan and his five-piece backing band hit a comfortable groove from the opening notes of "Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35" and never let up.

Of course, these were not letter-perfect versions, and Dylan's vocals are not as much sung as they are spit out in quick, emphatic bursts. But last night, at least, there was something utterly compelling about his demeanor and presence — taciturn, serene even — as he led the group through oft-times twisted reinventions of his works.

There was the lilting, up-tempo version of "It Ain't Me Babe," the Bob Wills-inspired "Summer Days," a darkly-hued "Ballad of a Thin Man" and "Highway 61 Revisited" sounding like it was dosed with Z. Z. Top.

"Workingman's Blues #2" and "Things Have Changed" were also compelling, but if you had to single out one song to hear again, it was "Nettie Moore," with Dylan's elegant reading of its quiet, graceful lyrics.


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 12, 2007

Regis Behe reviews Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan, Thursday, October 11, 2007, Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh, PA.


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